Mandy's Letter to Beth - 1 Year On

My Beautiful Bethy,

I remember lovingly the day you were born. I had carried you under the umbrella of my heart, a place you stayed 2 weeks longer than expected. Taking hours to get ready to make an entrance did become something of a trade mark of yours.

Your entrance into the world was relatively easy, you didn’t cry, much to the midwives amazement and as you looked around knowingly, she was convinced you had been here before. There you were this chubby beautiful baby girl.

You soon developed your own unique personality making it clear from a very early age what you were not going to do. Our early days shopping trips making statements like “Just two shops today mummy we don’t want to get too tired do we?” As soon as you had finished your meal putting your arms up and stating “ I’m out, all finished” indicating that you were not prepared to spend any longer in your highchair. Always making us laugh with your funny little statements.

You were always so frightened of everything needing your big sister to look after you and always seeking her approval. If Lydia thought it was alright then so did you. Screaming in Clarke’s Shoe Shop when having your feet measured thinking the tape measure would break off your toes. Lydia would say “don’t let them scare her mum give her some of my shoes”.

Always timid hiding at the back not wanting to join any clubs unless Lydia could go with you, which I think she enjoyed more than you (especially Rainbows - Lydia was about nine at the time and helping out made her feel very grown up)

You did go along with your big sissy and try most things sometimes for a matter of only a few minutes. Angela and the ice skating lessons springs to mind when five minutes into a private lesson you thanked her and said you had had enough for today and maybe you would do it another time. The constant persuasion to get you into the water at your Sunday afternoon swimming lessons. You had worked out very early on that by being difficult they would give you one to one tuition, “you see mummy it’s much nicer when the lady teaches just me I don’t like all those others in my class”. Skating onto the ice during the fancy dress competition at the last minute and being awarded first prize much to the other mother’s disgust. After trying to explain that not being in the line from the beginning was like cheating, as always according to Bethy’s logic you said there were too many people for them to see you, that’s why it’s best to join in at the end!!

So many funny memories you were always my funny little girl.

All those lovely hats you wore constantly and were horrified when you discovered that hats weren’t allowed in school. You seemed always to want to hide away, always lacking confidence. I could hear your screams from the school gate which would break my heart to have to leave you. You would inform me constantly that you liked school but you didn’t want to go everyday, you liked being at home or with Joan your lovely childminder you would always say “they are the best days.” Always stated like you had a choice.

You were such a shy little girl, your friendship with Ben, a special bond formed, finding confidence in each other. Your lovely little friend Zoë who always looked after you and did enough talking for the two of you. Finishing your sentences and speaking up for you at school. She encouraged you to speak up for yourself, I did sometimes think that without Zoe you may never speak again in public. And boy how you made up for it once you started!!

I watched lovingly with amusement as you and Kirsty helped each other progress from crayons to perfume. Best friends creating such happy memories, a friendship formed to last forever.

We are so proud of your GCSE and A Level results. You have always been more creative than academic so the grades you achieved were fantastic. An A at A Level Bethy Well done! Your results and audition allowing you to move on to the next chapter, Northampton University. You always worried about everything never having the confidence to believe you could do it. Your friend Lou did remind me that you had a conversation on your first day about doing your dissertation, how you worried about everything!

You developed into a beautiful young woman and the biggest drama queen ever! You were not only my daughter, I was so proud to call you my friend. Your funny little dramatic statements kept us constantly entertained. You quickly found where you were comfortable, on the stage. Giving a brilliant performance whatever character you were asked to portray. Life being about discovering your talent’s; you always said aim for the moon if you miss you will land in the stars but never be afraid to try. Your confidence grew as you believed more in yourself; Obstacles were the things you feared when you took your eye off your goals.

I hope you felt I have always been there for you and have never been to busy to respond to a tug at the skirt. Parents aren’t the people you come from they are the people you hopefully want to become. Finding your letter to us when sorting through your university papers was extremely emotional. You had been asked to write about people you aspire to be, which led you write to Poppa and I. We were overwhelmed to discover that you had also written to sissy too. Beautiful, comforting letters which I don’t think you ever intended to send, only found because you are no longer here to give comfort to us yourself.

I recall all of those late night calls during first year; you were homesick, loving university life, also missing home terribly. We would chat for hours, reassuring you, never terminating the call until I was sure that you were ok, happy. I know how funny you found my cards of inspiration and parcels of goodies sent to you each week. . I wanted to be the proud mum hugging you as I did sissy at her graduation feeling my heart would burst with pride instead of crumbling into a million pieces with such devastating sorrow. However my heart did burst with pride when I saw the overwhemling standing ovation you received at your graduation whilst sissy collected your degree on your behalf.

You never lost your passion or desire and will to succeed. You once posted a statement which I know Lauren has kept on her wall “I want to inspire people. I want someone to look at me and say because of you I didn’t give up” That’s exactly what you have done.

My beautiful girl. You always felt that sissy made a difference whilst nursing and you were so proud of her and wanted to do the same.

You have given me so many happy memories which at the moment are sometimes far too painful to recall. I loved the times we spent together as a family and just us girlies. I feel sad, so terribly sad, a sorrow without release. I see and feel you in everything. Music, fashion, poetry, the theatre, a beautiful sunset, all of those lovely sunflowers that appear to be everywhere this year, the list is endless my beautiful girl. I miss your wonderful sense of humour, your very distinctive laugh, how we found fun in everything, always laughing. I miss seeing the bond between sisters not always needing to be spoken, now taken away no longer able to create any more memories, share your lives together. Promises that will now be broken, places that will now never be visited together, never enjoying the simple things we found so much fun in sharing. Our box set marathon planned over the summer to show me why you loved “Sex and the City” so much. The unbearable heartbreak of seeing sissy dealing with feeling like she has lost the other half of herself. Lifelong friendships formed at university with your “Drama Family” which were only enjoyed for such a short time. The sadness in Poppas eyes tying so hard to deal with all this whilst taking care of us all. The grief felt by our family whilst trying to deal with this terrible tragedy.

I feel inadequate that I am powerless to make things easier for everyone whilst missing you so very much.

The seasons are changing bringing renewed sadness as we are approaching the autumn. Your season, the season you loved best of all:The colour changes in the garden, the change in temperature, a beautiful sky. The heartbreak of knowing you will never enjoy it with us again. The autumn along with a million other things will remind me of you always. No more sharing the autumn sunshine, laughing, creating memories to speak about fondly in the future. I associate everything back to you; if a date is mentioned I know what age you were, a song is played I know where we were when it was played. You are always in my thoughts, always in everything. The line from one of your favourite poems never to be fulfilled.

“I have promises to keep, and miles to go before I sleep”

You have enriched so many lives by just being a part of it, being you. A 21 year old beautiful young lady who loved life and has continued to give life to other as yours has so cruelly been taken away. You have achieved in your very short life what you had set out to do “I want to inspire people I want someone to look at me and say because of you I didn’t give up”

That’s exactly what you have done.

You are missing everything but mostly, we are missing you so very much.

We are really trying to find the way forward Bethy.

Mum X

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